E-commerce has been around for quite a while. In developed countries, it carries the day as being more popular than brick and mortar shopping. For the developing rest in 3rd world environments, it has just taken up shop. It is excitable and the thought of ordering something and getting it delivered is slowly becoming a norm. and the uptake is also very good as pioneer e-commerce platforms are doing quite well.
In Kenya for instance, the leading e-commerce websites are Jumia and Kilimall. Jumia is also in other countries such as Nigeria where it has also been a success. To say the least it has worked quite well since in 2016, 55% of smartphone users in Kenya accessed the Jumia mobile portal.
In Kenya, all transactions carried out on these websites are (COD)Cash On Delivery. This is because the concept of online payment is still not attractive to the users. Possible follow up questions would be, how many Kenyans use their credit cards for online payment? Why haven’t e-commerce websites set up online payment platforms yet? What is the problem here?
On further scrutiny, it was found out that most people still don’t trust dishing out money online. Some cite being conned, scammed as the possible reasons why they would rather still wait for their items, view it then pay for it afterwards. While other e-commerce websites such as Kilimall offer payments through MPESA and later term it as online payment. Is that really the concept of online payment? Take for instance, PayPal, a leading online payment system that is known for its ease of use. When shopping for goods online, immediately you see the PayPal icon on the payment section, your heart glows with warmth since you know you will complete the transaction with the click of a button.
Juxtapose that with the Kenyan scenario where a nice “click here to pay online “button that pops up at the checkout section. You awe in surprise at the innovation and simplicity introduced but you get that mini-heart attack immediately afterwards because when the next page loads, it will probably be a list of steps to follow to complete your online payment when it is simply Mobile Money transaction displayed on a check out page.
The payment methods offered on a local e-commerce platform
So what is the problem here? Is setting up these platforms tedious? Given that e-commerce sites run on Magento and others settle for WordPress or Joomla, there are enabling payment platforms embedded into the system. There is no reinventing the wheel. It’s a matter of enable g them from the back-end and the user will be enabled to pay with their credit cards.
I mean, why should you have several Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal accounts yet you can never use them for local e-commerce websites. I just don’t get it. Moving to a place and time in Kenya where sometimes it is safer to walk without any cash in your pocket but when you must buy a Canon DSLR camera, you will have to carry Kshs 200,000 cash to complete the transaction. I will not even start with the possible risks involved.
So next time you are on Jumia, or Kilimall and you don’t see Visa or Mastercard logo, the concept of e-commerce is still 80% progress. While a huge majority of the population are buying things online, there is need for assessment of payment methods on these websites.